Thursday, September 7, 2017

Emotional Support at NSCC

We all know that life can be frightening and overwhelming. Tragically, many people feel so overwhelmed that they feel hopeless, like the character in the movie “13 Reasons Why.” You may be aware of this controversial movie in which a young girl takes her life, leaving behind audio tapes of why she made her decision. A local news station interviewed Frank Scott, Director of Lipscomb’s Counseling Center to get his perspective.

Dr. Scott mentioned, “[Teens] don't have the coping mechanisms yet, and that's what we learn growing up by the consequences of our actions. We see life and how to do it, how to do it well, what works, what doesn't work, they don't have that yet."

As we grow and mature, we learn to develop the coping mechanisms that Dr. Scott mentioned. I enjoy my work as a volunteer chaplain at a psychiatric hospital. In our groups, we talk about how a person is more complex than a machine. When a car breaks down, we take it to a mechanic to adjust the parts. A person having mental health challenges often needs not only medication, but counseling that nurtures the spirit. This looks different for different personalities, diagnoses, and worldviews, but everyone needs a sense of hope and peace.   

One resource is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. (1-800-273-8255). This number can assist if a person is actively suicidal or if they are experiencing suicidal ideation (fantasies of suicide).

Another resource is the crisis hotline at 615-244-7444.  People can call this number when they are confused, anxious, depressed, or having any other emotional problems.

You may be familiar with the Behavior Intervention Team that we have here at NSCC—a collaborative effort among Access Center staff, the Dean for Student Services, Security, and instructors from a variety of disciplines (including psychology and occupational therapy.) If there are any students with emotional issues you are concerned about, we would love to help. Just e-mail Andrew Mason or Carol Martin-Osorio and we will meet to discuss intervention strategies and offer resources.  After the team meets, we have a conversation that is non-threatening and solution-focused with the student.

As our society becomes more complex and diverse, it’s crucial for people to realize they are not alone as they face their challenges. Giving a student a phone number to call or a referral to the Behavior Intervention Team can save a life. As a teacher once told me, “tattling is to get someone in trouble, telling is to keep someone safe.”  Working together to help students in distress will continue to make NSCC a safe haven to learn and grow.

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